Urban Luthier

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Posts posted by Urban Luthier


  1. 12 hours ago, duane88 said:

    There is some of the Alchemist varnish, unopened, in the box of stuff. The amount of drier that they suggest using in order to get the varnish to dry is more than I have ever used in a very small amount of varnish! With a good light box they suggest 20 drops of drier to 10 ml of varnish, or without a light box, 32 drops of drier to 10 ml of varnish. It is solvent free, liquid in the bottles, and they suggest turpentine or spike lavender oil as a thinner.

    I remain unsure of what to do with this stuff. It's pretty expensive.

    I can only share my experience I've used it two ways - both without dryer. 1) mixed in with pumice and rubbed into the wood as aground coat. 2)  in a thin coat with pad printing method described by Koening. In Both cases we are talking very think coats. Both in my case dried to touch in a UV cabinet in 24 hours.


  2. On 3/20/2019 at 5:49 PM, morgana said:

    I just wanted to know how long it takes to dry wiping it on top of an oil varnish using a uv box. And how much are you asking for it. I make my own varnish but have not tried this particular one to deepen the colouration.

    Also just looping back to your original question. The bottles appear to be Magister Primer I and II, so not varnish at all! 


  3. 5 hours ago, MikeC said:

    how can a varnish be solvent free?   Wouldn't it be about as thick as cement ?  

    As I understand it, varnish made with out turpentine solvent (like the Hargrave recipe, magister, Alchemist, Holiter) is considered solvent free. i.e. cooked linseed oil and prepared pine resin in a ~1:1 ratio. Viscous for sure but not solid! 


  4. 5 hours ago, Mike_Danielson said:

     Roger's recipe works--but you have to go to a higher temperature then he recommends--close to 300 C, and then you can get the necessary color in less than 1 hour. 

    Personally I would not recommend anyone cook resin this high unless you have accurate way of measuring and maintaining the temperature in a controlled and reliable way. 

    The colour in Roger's recipe comes from reduction of the resin during the cook (almost 80%). If you go to high too quickly, one can come out with a greenish cast to the varnish (dependant on the resin of course). 


  5. 31 minutes ago, lpr5184 said:

    It's hard to read the label. I don't think this is varnish but rather Koen's primer which I remember had a shelf life of around 6 months.

    Yep you are right E. I blew up the picture to read it -- looks like Primer I and II. Roger talks about the shelf life in the bass book page 104.

    At this point it probably useless for production. 


  6. On 4/23/2019 at 2:40 AM, morgana said:

    I will be 50 on Saturday. I work alone live with my pets. Here is a. Selfy with my violin with me. I have another violin I made and used my own ancient violin varnish which is a recipe I create.

    It's had many fine layerings.

    I hope this upload works. Taken from my crap phone.

    I use ground layerings of different mixtures and ammounts of Venice Turpentines, Natural colour on this one, glad am I that I am alive lol x

    Nice violin! I'd recommend against the Magister as well for the reasons Not Telling notes above. Someone will likely pay dearly for it just to analyze it. But to answer your question about drying -- the magister stuff should dry overnight in a UV cabinet like any other solvent free varnish. If I remember correctly, the magister varnish isn't all that dark and Koen's system relied on pigments for colouration. If you are interested, the book of Koen's work edited by Helen M is a great investment -- it contains all his writings will commentary from those who knew him well. I think it is available from the Strad shop. if you are looking for something with a bit of colour, Eugene Holtier's varnish comes has a nice rich dark orange hue. Like the Magister varnish, Holiter's stuff is also solvent free


  7. 17 hours ago, uncle duke said:

    I'd trust Roger before Melvin and David.  I just spent the last hour or so reading this topic from the beginning and I just can't believe they'd let this go on for however many months without mentioning what type of resins they use. 

    In the bass book Roger mentioned he purchased his resin from Kremer in Germany (if memory serves this is the standard Burgundy resin / colophony) 


  8. 56 minutes ago, jacobsaunders said:

    I have always cooked it until some neighbour calls the police because of the smell. Once I took it of the hotplate and put it down on a Cold Stone wall next to it, and an about 4 feet long flame came out of it, so I think I understand Roger

    funny, but not. An excellent reminder of the dangers of cooking varnish! 


  9. Thanks for this Mark, I've seen Talbot's mentioned in most of the literature I've been reading so this will help. As for which instrument to make? I'm at least two projects away from this so I'm doing initial research now. I have two plans (the Lewis and the 1619 Jaye featured in the strad) 

    My preference is for a mid-sized English bass with a modest string length 680-690mm. The Jaye above is not suitable based on this criteria - the 760mm string length isn't a good fit for me. Anglicizing the Lewis is a possibility, but not without more research. Third option is to look for another plan all together - but unlike the violin family gamba plans are not that accessible to amateurs!


  10. Thanks Ben and Mark -- this is very helpful.

    The Lewis lower bout in my plan is about 400 mm wide, using your calculation Ben this wold give a rather long neck! The neck length is of the Paris Lewis is 325mm - about the same as the 1660  Meares pictured in Monical's 'Shapes of the baroque'


  11. I have a question about the standard neck to body stop ratio for bass viola da gambas. Most instruments I've seen have a ratio of about .92 or 1:1.08. Does this sound about right to you?

    I have a plan of a really nice Edward Lewis Bass viol that was later converted to a 7 string. The current string length is a generous 720mm. The bridge sits rather low (presumably shifted down to give more weight to the low A string). As a result the neck to body ratio is different than above.  If one were to shift up the bridge up by about 30 mm,  the neck to body stop ratio would fall inline with the above. This would also give a more manageable string length of 690mm. 

    Do the ratios about sound right to you? any issue with shortening up the string length in this case? 


  12. 3 hours ago, Guy Harrison said:

    It's not MDF. It's layers of thin plywood (http://www.leevalley.com/en/wood/page.aspx?p=32736&cat=1,250,43217) which I glued together flat with epoxy. I wanted a form that could be easily shaped and also stay flat with no warping.   There's many ways and different materials that could be used for this - this was my method for number of forms in my workshop and it's worked well. 

    thanks Guy --  what a great idea! I use the thin stuff for making templates. Laminating 3 layers of the thicker stuff must make a really stable, dense and durable form!


  13. 2 hours ago, Jim Bress said:

    I believe our resident organization freak (a positive reference) would be Matt Nyokos.  AKA, the anti-Manfio (winner of messiest bench contest). :)  Here's mine that I don't think is anything special.  Cleanliness ebbs and flows like the tide as I reach different stages of completion.

    Workbench.JPG.7f331c3ff0ec36ef15161b49041c9461.JPG

    looks really nice Jim! I especially like the gerstner chest. great way to store / and organize tools. I have a small one myself. I try to organize tools by workflow and just pulling out the drawer I need for any given task